Wedding in Venice

Everything has a good and a bad side. Unfortunately. For the next few blogs i would like to discuss my personal opinions on getting married in various places in Italy. Today I will start with the pro’s and con’s of marrying in Venice.

Venice is UNBELIEVABLE. Crazy Venetians built a city in the middle of the sea. It’s sinking and won’t be there for ever so even if you don’t get married there you have to go and see the place. It’s refined, beautiful, sad, and so impressive. One can see the strong Arabic influence and it is surprised by gardens and luxury.

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The Pros of getting married in Venice:

  1. The scenery is unbeatable, nothing else like it exists. The streets, buildings and interiors.
  2. If you are prepared to spend a bit you can dine in some of the most exquisite hotels in the world
  3. Getting around on boats and gondolas is fabulous
  4. It’s melon conic waysare so romantic
  5. Even the shops are romantic and the shopping is down right sexy (if you find that kind of thing sexy.
  6. It’s so close to Milan so flights are frequent and cheap
  7. There is so much to see and do from art exhibitions, boat tours, walking tours and of course the define art of getting lost with a camera

The Cons of getting married in Venice:

  1. Too many tourists, hard to shoot in the most famous places without looking like you are just one in a million. Though this can be overcome if your photographer knows a few secret places.
  2. Never be late if you are getting married in Venice. There are no cars, none. So if you are late you have to run or catch a boat but they are only allowed to go very slowly. Be warned if you catch the wrong boat or bus it can cost you hours.
  3. Everything is already very expensive but if they see you wearing a wedding dress the price doubles.
  4. The place is so full of tourist traps that your wallet is in constant danger but with a little intelligent exploration, like following Italians in to a restaurant you can find real treasures.

Thinking about getting married in Italy?

Why do so many foreign couples get married in Italy. The weather is good, the food is great, the cities and villages are gorgeous, weddings are a big tradition in Italy, it’s a very romantic place and besides it’s a great weeder when it comes to the invitation list. The Italian government has gone as far as possible to simplify the process of getting married in Italy. With such a variety of locations and landscapes to choose from. From the classic Venice to the unexplored Puglia, it all depends what you are after. Dreamy, crazy, glamorous to rustic and earthy, you can have it all when you get married in italy.

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A Message to Guests – the case of the poor wedding photographer

Now we all hate wedding photographers. They are a pain on the day, bossing everybody around and telling cheesey jokes. They are often funny looking and nerdish and generally not considered fun. We do however want to see good pictures after we have not allowed them to photograph us.

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I would like to build a case for the poor wedding photographer right around the world. Wedding photography is one of the hardest forms of photography. Your subjects are often not modesl, stressed, unco and uncooperative. You have very limited time and that is nearly always made even less on the day because clients run late. Guests with cameras often get in the way, the priest does not want to see you, it rains, you have to cover for the planner, they forget to feed and water you… you are expected to get result like images in magazines, images which require hours of work, you are expected to accomplish in half an hour.

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So I know we don’t feel like it on the day or maybe you just feel like you don’t look good in pictures. Non of us like the way we look in pictures. But believe me in twenty years time you will think you look fabulous. The photographer is not trying to take your picture and sell in on the black market. No they want to do their job as best they can in very limited time. So if you are mean or impatient with a photographer you will probably get your wish and not be photographed, but on behalf of the you that will exist in twenty years time. “Give us all a break!”

My favourite locations 15: Castellammare Bikini

Into pulp? Want something really Italian but a little kitsch and atypical? Try Bikini, complete with a little fake island with two palms. I think if you go Italian cocktail chic and make your theme colour gold this venue could rock. If you go classic romantic you will look silly here but if you do super polished gangster chic. It could work but you would need to have seen every Tarintino movie to pull it off . You would also need to be two crazy extroverts who might hire Brazilian dancers to start the party after the cake.

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“Bikini enjoys an extraordinary view of the Naples Gulf and accommodates up to 160 people in a divine outdoor setting. Guests enjoy a genuine kitchen from the sea, completed with typical Italian dairy products and fine Italian wines. The restaurant brags with excellent service, hospitality and professionalism. With a background of a splendid nature and a wonderful seascape, lovingly protected and put in light, it is depicted as an island of comfort and serenity.” Direct text from Castellamare Bikini website

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My favourite locations 14: Massa Lubrense: La Conca del Sogno

This is probably the most original of all the suggestions i have for you. You load all your guests into bots from a small port just after Massa Lubresnse. The boats can meet in the middle of the sea for a quick toast and off to the restaurant Lido) on the rocks. With many terraces which go out into the sea. Where you can spend the night dancing and feasting on Oysters. The restaurant is not the prettiest but the location is so great nothing else matters. The price is also probably the best you will find and the quality is fantastic. Though not trendy and chic it does give you the possibility to party till sunrise.

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“La Conca del Sogno stands alone upon land which after the war was used exclusively for rock excavation. The private and hidden cove is in a splendid position within Marina del Cantone, shortly after the Sorrento Coastline. With some slightly modern touches, this secret location remembers its small beginnings and reflects some of the old traditions that started this adventure.” Direct text from La Conca del Sogno website

My favourite locations 13 Milan: Villa Perego a Cremago (Erba)

You know those places you go to in your dreams, where your love chases you in misty hedged labyrinths? Well that is the atmosphere at this villa. Classic and refined, yet a little bit of eccentricity floats on the air. The food was good though I think it was catering. There is a gorgeous space for cocktails and a dream like hall with huge French windows for the after party.
“Villa Perego di Cremnago is a prestigious monumental complex open for weddings. This magnificent complex consists of a palace by the Architect Piermarini, stables by Simon Cantoni, a private chapel painted with XVI century frescoes, an XVIII century lemonhouse house and three big charming gardens. The whole complex has been declared an Italian National Monument since 1906 and it is known as one of the most precious houses in Italy.”Direct text from Villa Perego e Cremnago website

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My favourite locations 12 – Mykonian Mare Art Resort – Mykonos – Greece

The entire place is white with a few blue and gold details. Clean and sleek, minimal and fresh but some how embarrassing Greek aesthetics. Love the deck and the lounge beds. Especially love the little church on the cliff a short wander down the road. The rooms are a relief to my saturated vision. Special attention has been paid to lighting. The staff felt like old friends or family. But that's Mykonos. The island of LOVE. I very seriously recommend getting married in Mykonos if you love to dance the night away. I can go on and on. But I will say if you do decide to get married in Mykonos I do not recommend August.
“Mykonian Mare Art Resort and Spa is naturally the perfect place where you will experience incredibly magic and romantic moments.
Mykonian Mare Art Resort and Spa combines all the magical ingredients for a memorable wedding and honeymoon experience in Mykonos. Weddings here are an art where luxury, elegance, high quality services combined to the breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea, offer an incredibly unique experience to the wedding couple and their precious guests.” Direct text from Mykonian Mare Art Resort and Spa website

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My favourite locations 11 – Capo la Gala Resort – Vico Equense- Sorrento – Italy

Most people who come to Italy want something classic and old looking for their wedding venue. Naturally the Italian feel a little different living here. Many prefer something a little more modern. Capo la gala is the perfect solution. Right on the sea in the rocks the venue is fresh and sleek. With a dark women decked pool with a deep blue bottom. It's an amazing place to take photographs and because it caters almost exclusively to Italians the food is ridiculously good. Be warned, just because it's not on the tourist route does not mean it's cheap.
“Hotel Capo La Gala is situated in one of the most picturesque corners of the Bay of Naples.

Due to its central position along the Sorrento coast, Hotel Capo La Gala is half way between Pompeii and Sorrento, an ideal spot in the midst of historic, archaeological and natural sites. The soft lighting, the gorgeous views out to the blue Mediterranean, makes for unforgettable sunsets and a fairy tale, romantic atmosphere.” Direct text from Capo la Gala website

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My favourite locations 10 – Hotel Luna – Amalfi – Italy

This is not the most perfectly polished hotel but I love it. I love the courtyard and the architecture of the old convent. I love the restaurant which is in the sea (well almost). BUT if it rains the inside is cramped too rustic for my taste. Even though the restaurant is across the road from the hotel, I have not actually done a wedding where guest were fed inside the hotel. I imagine that would be very pleasant. I once saw the most delicious fashion shots taken in the hotel. And it’s one of the most affordable on the coast..

“Situated in an old cloister founded by St Francis of Assisi in 1222, this is another perfect place for a wedding. Its charming chapel is used for wedding ceremonies and the cells that once housed the pious monks have been transformed and given all modern comforts, while holding on to an air of serenity. The hotel’s breathtaking views provide an idyllic backdrop for your day.” Direct text from Hotel Luna website

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My favourite locations 09 – Santa Caterina – Amalfi – Italy

Food is good. The garden is sweet, though small. The deck on the rocks has potential especially during full moon. The staff are friendly though very traditional and a little rigid. But I have only done one wedding there and it rained and the bride was not very easy. Therefore my first impression may not have been sparkling but I think it has potential.

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“Santa Caterina enjoys a panoramic coastal setting of incomparable beauty at the summit of an extensive property. It begins at the Amalfi drive, whose curve hugs the hillside, and tumbles down to the water’s edge in a series of landscaped natural terraces.” Direct text from Santa Caterina website

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My favourite locations 08 -Il San Pietro – Positano – Italy

Now I have not actually ever done a wedding at San Pietro, though it’s world famous for it’s list of clients. Every famous or infamous person who has stayed on the Amalfi Coast has almost certainly stayed at the San Pietro. From Rock stars to presidents. I am told that it’s the best but I have also been told that the decor is very outdated and 1980’s. Not good. The gardens look amazing from the sea. But I repeat it’s in my list just because out of respect, it a classic old timer. A bit like the Rolls Royce of the Amalfi Coast. Not everybody’s taste. Unless you are a rock start or a president that is.

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“Surrounded by scented Tropical and Mediterranean gardens, Il San Pietro di Positano overlooks the world famous bay of Positano. San Pietro has a perfect harmony of luxury and simplicity, which is the secret to a private and charming hotel.” Direct text from Palazzo Murat website

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My favourite locations 07 – Palazzo Murat – Positano – Italy

The gate, doorways, windows, and furniture have such gorgeous shapes and styles. I love the size of the rooms, windows and beds. The garden is a frame for a truly unique skyline. The organic frame is trimmed with mountains, trees and the dome of the Cathedral. The food is also seriously good and I have found the staff to be friendly and considerate.

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“Housed in an old seventeenth century palace, Hotel Murat has been refurbished in the style of the Neapolitan baroque school of Vanvitelli, carefully conserving its architectural flourish and period objects.” Direct text from Palazzo Murat website

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My favourite locations 06 – Mamma Agata – Ravello – Italy

I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT MAMMA AGATA. It’s voted the number one thing to do on the Amalfi Coast by trip advisor. And for good reason, it’s an authentic and fun experience for the whole family. Finally something all your guest will enjoy doing together. Mind you it will need to be a smaller group for a cooking lesson. I am doing my first wedding at Mamma Agata so I will keep you up to date on my opinions. So stayed tuned girls for all the gossip. ;0)

“For an exciting and different epicurean experience, Mamma Agata is the perfect spot. Situated high above the Amalfi Coast, it boasts terraces with views of the cliffs of Ravello cascading down to the sea. This famous and favourite location makes for a personal and intimate wedding.” Direct text from Mamma Agata website

My favourite locations 05 – Hotel Palumbo- Ravello – Italy

I simply adore the dinning room of Villa Palumbo. The fresco’s on the ceilings and the pains, the pavement and the windows all create a truly authentic Amalfi Coast atmosphere. The rooms are a delight since the building was once a home and so are varied in styles and shapes.

“From the enchanting gardens of this lovingly restored medieval palazzo, your gaze can wander out to the furthest point of the Gulf of Salerno, the Cilent Coast and the archaeological inland area of Paestum. The astounding blues of sky and sea are enhanced by the intense green of the hotel’s Mediterranean gardens.” Direct text from Hotel Palumbo website

My favourite locations 04 – Villa Eva – Ravello – Italy

One of the number one reasons to have your wedding at Villa Eva would because the fun does not have to finish at midnight. The staff are very professional but also pleasant and accommodating. Which can be helpful at sunset when you want to take some pickies and dinner is due to start. Other hotels are very strict about timetables. Villa Eva is very accommodating. There is loads of space for babies to play in a gorgeous big flower garden. Their views are also lovely. And I think the relationship between quality and price is very good. Much of the food eaten at Villa Evan and Villa Maria comes out of their Gardens.

“A romantic villa surrounded by a park of over 3000 square metres and beautiful gardens. It offers a view of the incomparable scenery of the Amalfi Coast and is a wonderfully tranquil spot.” Direct text from Villa Eva’s website

My favourite locations 03 – Hotel Caruso – Ravello – Italy

Hotel Caruso has won awards for having the most beautiful infinity pool in the world. Here quality is guaranteed. They are true professionals, experienced and classic in their style. The gardens are simply exquisite and all the rooms are suites. It’s a feature of luxury and comfort.

“Narrow alleys carved between stucco-fronted houses lead you to Hotel Caruso. Have your wedding set against the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea or directly on a private section of its lush terraced gardens. The breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast guarantee that your wedding will be special.”

My favourite locations 02 – Palazzo Avino – Ravello – Italy

Palazzo Avino make the best Bellini’s in the whole world. Seriously ridiculously delicious. Then if you love food the restaurant will make you fall in love. Gorgeous architecture but one of my favourite features is a gorgeous sculpture woman frolicking in the fountain. So many gorgeous places to take pictures but they can only cater to smaller weddings.

“This is a stunning five-star deluxe hotel that overlooks some of the Amalfi Coast’s most picturesque fishing villages. The hotel is a 12th century Italian villa whose beauty and tranquillity have inspired many famous personalities. General Eisenhower was a resident when he was planning the attack on Monte Cassino, and former guests remember Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini giggling over dinner in the restaurant.” Direct text from Pallazzo Avino website

My favourite locations 01 – Villa Cimbrone – Ravello- Italy (part a)

Cimbrone is my absolute favourite venue EVER. It’s just the craziest place. A little difficult to get to due to it’s location. You can’t get closer than a fifteen minute walk to the gate. The swimming pool was built with a donkey and a helicopter. Being family run it’s service is personal and friendly. The gardens are what dreams are made of and the views are indescribable, so I won’t even attempt. have a look in the gallery on my website.

Villa Cimbrone is the crème de la crème of what the Amalfi Coast has to offer. Views, sea, sun and sky all mix to create that magical ambiance for your day. The exquisite palace mixes the understated luxury of an elite venue with the intimate and romantic ambiance of a family-run hotel. Marry in open air splendid gardens with breathtaking views, or in elegant historical rooms that date back almost a thousand years. A sparkling jewel in a class of its own, Villa Cimbrone provides a unique setting for your wedding day.

Taking tranquilizers on your wedding Day

SO what is it about us humans that we can’t stand feeling anything except comfortable. We not all humans but many of us. We just want a little something to take off the edge. Well the sad thing is you will spend the second half of your life trying to remember the edge and how it felt. The emotions which happen on a wedding day will never again be repeated. The nerves, excitement and surely a bit of drama. Why would one like to numb those feeling you will never feel again?

It’s wise to remember even natural tranquilizers and alcohol are not friends. You could end up in the bathroom barking at the toilets or even sexier would be a Courtney Love relapse imitation. Not pretty girls, stay off those pills unless your doctor said so. And if you MUST, get therapy and don’t drink on the day.

Not Eating on the day

It’s one of the first questions I will ask a bride when I arrive. Why? Because if you don’t eat, get nervous, run around in a big hot dress in the heat, cry and have to stand for hours… you will get into trouble. Okay so you usually starve yourself and you can handle it. Well add a glass of sparkling wine to the equation and well it could even get embarrassing. I know the last thing you feel like doing is eating. SO I recommend easy healthy high calorie foods. That way you won’t have to eat much and you will keep going. I like bananas, nuts, fruit, cheese and if you just can’t do solids try a fruit shake.

The Couple with a baby

I have already mentioned how important it is to keep baby well fed and rested on your wedding day. Mostly importantly taking their pictures as soon as possible before we have the usual baby wedding day stress melt down. But I have one other silly but effective trick to share. Make sure you wear an interesting strong bracelet. Particularly effective is a chunky charm bracelet. The younger the baby and the twinkilier the bracelet, the more effective it will be.

Confetti Suggestions

My favourite confetti is biodegradable and light. For example petals, feathers, rice paper shapes, bougainvillea flowers dried and bubbles. I do not like rice because it can kill the birds and looks boring in pictures. I find candy coated almonds hard since I often get hit too. Coins are just well … violent. I also love those over the top suggestion for the exit like the releasing of doves, balloons (though not that eco friendly) and butterflies. Not sure if there is anyone in Italy who releases butterflies for weddings. But they look amazing.

Why do you have a booking manager?

Firstly I can not handle clients and money. I feel it’s such a personal service I feel bad charging and get all weird about things. It’s hard to insist you are worth a certain price. I give away a lot and give huge discounts. Well I was, that is untill my booking manager banned me from discussing money with clients. I can only do so many weddings a year before I start to loose my hair. So my booking manager tires to get me the best work and prices available.

Secondly I need to focus on photography. We get many more requests than we getting bookings and keeping admin in line is not any easy task. And I did try once to do it all myself but my photography really suffered. Instead my booking manager arranges meeting with clients who are sure and keeps everything perfect. I could never get through a season without my booking manager. If you ask me at anytime if I am free for a date. I could not tell you. Unless of course it’s next week. A booking manager means my mind will be free of red tap ready to focus on your wedding.

Veil or hat

There have been very few veils which have made me clap with joy. I am a little partial for 1920 style short veils bordered with decadent big lace trim. Especially if it frames the face.

However having said that I want to say I love hats. Hats can turn an ordinary girl into a lady. Too big a hat will make couple shots a bit difficult, but have a look at some of Philip Tracey’s more sculptural designs. Most of all I love sculpt caps, box hats and hair pieces with mini veils. They are sexy and elegant and a breathe of fresh time while giving a little wave at retro.

Flowers in your hair

Real flowers are fabulous but by the end of the evening they droop, and leave you looking tired and worn. I like flowers in the hair, in many different ways. And although I HATE fake bouquets I like fine fake hair flowers. Peonies, orchids, even butterflies. Love crazy early seventies big hair adorned with flowers. But they need to be well made. They are often gorgeous with feathers. I like head pieces in general though unless a tiara is a rare art deco piece it’s likely that it will make me yawn.